Alex Howard

Tipping my open government hat

I first met Alex Howard in Los Angeles at Gov20LA a few years ago. This was shortly before he joined O’Reilly Media as its Washington correspondent covering the open government/Gov 2.0 beat.

A Peace Corps for Programmers

The federal government should fire me. Like the thousands of other contractors who develop software for government agencies, I am slow, overpaid, and out of touch with the needs of my customers. And I’m keeping the government from innovating.

In recent years, the government has become almost completely dependent upon contractors for information technology (IT). So deep is this dependency that the government has found itself in a position that may shock those in the tech industry: it has no programmers of its own; code is almost entirely outsourced. Government leaders clearly consider IT an ancillary function that can be offloaded for someone else to worry about.

Download two free preview chapters of new ‘Open Government’ book from O’Reilly Media

Two preview chapters from Open Government: Collaboration, Transparency, and Participation in Practice are available for download. The book, available January 2010 from O’Reilly Media, is a “collection of essays, interviews, and case studies provides a multi-faceted and nonpartisan account of government as it becomes more transparent, collaborative, and participatory.”

Preview chapters include ‘Disrupting Washington’s Golden Rule’ by Ellen S. Miller and ‘Visualizing Policy and Politicians’ by Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg.